China’s Tmall Global – Alibaba’s business-to-consumer (B2C) retail portal – is reportedly testing a new blockchain-based, end-to-end traceability tool that can maximize tracking and transparency of its cross-border supply chain.
Its “Full Link Traceability System” will be able to act as an “immigration office” for granting “visas” to incoming goods sent to China. The “visa” is essentially a QR code containing product information programmed by the merchant and affixed onto a product’s outer packaging for delivery. Customers will be able to scan the QR code to find out more about the product they bought and its movement through Tmall’s entire supply chain up till it reaches them. All of a product’s information and movement embedded in its QR code will be recorded on the blockchain.
Tmall Global requires each QR code to be single-use only. The codes are to be destroyed once used, and not to reproduced or recycled. Apart from blockchain technology, the system harnesses other tools like laser markings and dynamic image recognition to boost the integrity of the product movement monitoring process by making the QR codes unique and impossible to copy.
According to China’s Sina News (Feb 21), the system is first being targeted at luxury fashion goods, with expectations to roll out next month after testing is completed. The system will then be slowly introduced to other goods and industries that also feature on Tmall.